Tea Report: Surrey 206-5 (64 overs) v Somerset

Tea on the first day of four (Surrey won toss)
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The Independent Online

Not a good day for Surrey in general and Mark Ramprakash in particular as Somerset took control of this Championship match.

The big-guns of Surrey, not least Ramprakash who arrived at this charming ground still looking for the hundredth hundred of his first class career – were well and truly spiked by an accurate Somerset attack.

Not until James Benning was unleashed on the Somerset attack did the match start to swing back at least towards parity. The hard-hitting Benning smacked his way to an attractive fifty off just 38 balls, with the help of ten fours, then shut up shop to steer Surrey safely to tea.

Until Benning’s arrival however Somerset were well in charge. Pick of the bowlers was left-armer Charl Willoughby, who claimed the prized scalp of Ramprakash a quarter of an hour before lunch with a beauty of a ball that slanted across the right-hander and found an edge to have him caught behind for a painstaking 17 runs.

It was the fifth successive innings in which Ramprakash had tried, and failed, to nail that elusive landmark century, and this on a ground where he has scored three Championship hundreds – the only Surrey player to reach three figures in this competition on this ground.

Ramprakash had come in at the fall of Matthew Spriegel’s wicket. The 21-year-old, a former pupil at Whitgift and captain of the School XI was just beginning to look good, and had struck four boundaries before becoming the first of Ben Phillips’s three victims.

Phillips really waded into Surrey after lunch accounting first for Mark Butcher, caught and bowled, then the in-form Usman Afzaal, taken at slip for Justin Langer’s second catch of the innings.

The hot one, that of Newman, fell to Alfonso Thomas, although by then the Surrey opener had reached his highest score of the season, 84, an innings which contained an incredible 16 fours. Newman fell lbw to leave Surrey looking sickly at 140-5.